Color is a tricky element in design, and made even more challenging when incorporating images into a layout. It can be difficult to know what colors are going to complement the image and the overall design. There’s a lot of science surrounding how to mix and match colors, but John McWade of Before & After offers some foolproof ways to pick the right colors from an image in his course Before & After: Things Every Designer Should Know.
The content team at lynda.com strives to create courses that continuously help you learn the key technological tools that you need to get your job done, and we certainly aim to make sure you have the best and most up-to-date information on how to use your tools of choice, from Aperture to ZBrush. Over the last several months, we’ve also been working to include more big-picture training that focuses on best practices, core concepts, and widely applicable skills that aim to help everyone, including those who may already be more well-versed in tools and techniques, take their work and skill-set to the next level.
For this week’s collection of featured free movies, I’ve picked a few tutorials that demonstrate this kind of conceptual, ‘beyond the tools’ approach. Although some of these video examples live within courses that are centered around a particular application, don’t be distracted, or deterred, by the application context—these videos all aim to give you foundational information that will prepare you to work thoughtfully before you ever touch the keyboard, and will stay with you long after you’ve stepped away from your computer.
What sorts of larger, more conceptual skills are you looking to develop? If you have suggestions or ideas about ‘beyond the tools’ training you’d like to see, please share them in the comments section below.
1. Finding and capturing a good photo
In this excerpt from our Foundations of Photography: Composition course, Ben Long shares his thoughts on where to find good photos. You’ll find that the answer, if your mind and eyes are open, might be ‘anywhere.’
2. Understanding color as a signifier
In this movie from chapter one of the Photoshop for Designers: Color course, Nigel French takes a birds-eye-view approach to discuss the significance, meaning, and changeability of different colors, including discussion of the connotation of colors, and how there is no such thing as an absolute color. Before you think about how to apply color to your design in Photoshop, you may take some time to consider why a particular color is right for your message.
3. Refining a concept
In this excerpt from Digital Creature Creation in ZBrush, Photoshop, and Maya, Ryan Kittleson shares his practical advice for sketching and experimenting with sketches to make even the most whimsical of creatures. In this video you’ll see how Ryan approaches his doodling process, why he recommends creating lots of types of creatures to give yourself a variety of options, and what character analysis questions he asks himself to get to just the right design for a project, long before he ever launches an application.
4. Focusing and working to make yourself irreplaceable
You might be the office wizz with Photoshop, Word, or Excel, but are you spending your time working on the activities that make you valuable? In this excerpt from Dave Crenshaw‘s Invaluable course, Invaluable: Making Yourself Irreplaceable, you’ll get an introduction to Dave’s system for identifying how best to employ your time and energy at work.
5. Web form structure, and considerations taken when designing
In this excerpt from Luke Wroblewski‘s Web Form Design Best Practices course, you’ll get some big-picture advice on how to think about your web form’s structure, and what considerations you should keep in mind when designing forms for the web. In this video, Luke discusses the fundamentals of sequential, non-linear, and in-context forms, and why you might choose one over the other:
In this blog we talk about color, recognizing photography opportunities, the conceptual sketching process, web form design, and how to make yourself an invaluable asset to your team. These core concepts are just the tip of the iceberg—what sorts of larger, more conceptual skills are you looking to develop? If you have suggestions or ideas about ‘beyond the tools’ training you’d like to see, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.